Overexertion and Bodily Reaction

Detailed nonfatal data for 2021 are not currently available.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is transitioning from an annual to a biennial (every two years) publication schedule.  The final publication of a single year of cases involving days away from work estimates is for reference year 2020. In the fall of 2023, BLS will publish detailed data covering 2021 and 2022 for both Days Away from Work (DAFW) and for Days of Job Transfer or Restriction (DJTR) cases.

Overexertion and bodily reaction is the second leading nonfatal injury or illness event involving days away from work, representing 22% of all such injuries. Prior to 2020, overexertion and bodily reaction was the leading cause of nonfatal cases but was overtaken by exposure to harmful substances or environment. In 2020, 7 workers died and 255,490 were injured. This category includes several types of injury events:

  • Usually a non-impact injury or illness resulting from excessive physical effort directed at an outside source of injury or illness. Common worker activities include:
    • Lifting
    • Pulling
    • Pushing
    • Holding
    • Carrying
    • Throwing
  • Injuries or illnesses resulting from motion that imposes stress or strain on some part of the body due to the repetitive nature of the task. There is typically no strenuous effort (such as heavy lifting). Common worker activities include:
    • Typing, texting, using a mouse
    • Repetitive use of tools like screwdrivers, knives, musical instruments, or medical instruments
  • Injuries or illnesses resulting from a single or prolonged instance of free bodily motion. Common worker activities include:

This infographic provides an overview of the nonfatal trends involving days away from work, including nature of injury, part of body injured, and industry. Explore the data details tab for information on fatal injuries, injury rates, and historic trends.



See data details